FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Royal Gorge is busy with spring break visitors after it reopened after a fire that nearly destroyed every structure in the park.
A wildfire in 2013 burned 3,200 acres of the park and destroyed 48 of the 52 buildings and the park is still trying to rebuild.
On Sunday it was windy, hot and dry — the same types of conditions they had four years ago when the Royal Gorge Fire ignited.
The wildfire took away so much but the people have given a lot back.
“Anytime there’s a disaster you just get more community heart,” Amy Gillespie said.
Gillespie saw the charred remains of what was such a cherished place.
“We lost all but five structures,” she said.
The visitor center and several attractions are back open and rebuilt better than before. The famous bridge over the Arkansas River is repaired and open again to visitors.
“Guests get to see this beautiful visitor center and beautiful park. They don’t get to see that behind-the-scenes part,” Gillespie said.
When the fire broke out there was little they could do to stop the flames. That has changed.
“It was a hopeless situation that day without any fire hydrants. All we had is one little pumper truck. Now we have actually retained 90,000 gallons of water that we treat and retain for the hydrants as well as another 40,000 gallons for the sprinkler systems. We have a fire truck and fire safety is in the park,” Gillespie said.
The park is back open bringing smiles and lots of selfies again.
The park still has 42 structures to rebuild. The process is slow but is on track.